The former partner of slain Chicago police officer Ella French was treated to a raucous hero’s welcome when he emerged on Thursday from a rehabilitation facility, where he spent the last two months recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty.
Carlos Yanez Jr, 39, was left partially paralyzed and lost an eye in the August 7 shooting during a routine traffic stop that killed the 29-year-old French.
A large crowd of well-wishers, including family members, fellow police officers and medical personnel, showed up outside the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, a rehabilitation center in Chicago, to greet Yanez Jr with cheers and applause.
Some people displayed homemade signs that read ‘Carlos Strong’ and featured photos of the officer, while others sported bracelets and T-shirts honoring Yanez.
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Chicago police officer Carlos Yanez, Jr, 39, on Thursday left a rehabilitation facility in a wheelchair, two months after a deadly shooting that killed his partner, Ella French
Yanez was greeted by a crowd of supporters. He waved and blew kisses at his well-wishers
While getting hugs from family and friends, Yanez was serenaded by a live mariachi band
Many of Yanez’ supporters displayed homemade signs that read ‘Carlos Strong’
The injured cop left the facility in a wheelchair, pressing his hand to his heart in an apparent gesture of gratitude, flashing the thumbs up sign and blowing kisses to his many supporters as a live mariachi band and bagpipers serenaded him, reported CBS Chicago.
‘All my family and friends, thank you for all the support,’ he said.
Yanez singled out his colleagues who saved his life by rushing him to the hospital after the shooting, the medics who treated his injuries, and the rehabilitation facility staff who helped him recover.
‘I feel like my heart is going to burst,’ said Nora LaPorta, Yanez Jr’s aunt. ‘He has so much positivity in him.’
On August 7, French (left) and Yanez Jr (right) pulled over a car for expired plates when a passenger opened fire, killing the female officer and critically injuring her partner
Eric Morgan is pictured moments before the fatal shooting in police body cam footage
Yanez Jr survived after shot multiple times, including once in the right eye
Yanez has a long road ahead on his path to recovery, with his aunt revealing that he still has a bullet lodged in his neck that doctors have been unable to remove.
The 39-year-old will continue his rehabilitation journey at an outpatient facility.
His father, Carlos Yanez Sr, said he will be staying at an ‘undisclosed location’ until a permanent home with wheelchair accessibility could be found for him.
A GoFundMe campaign that has been launched by Yanez Jr’s sister has drawn more than $366,000 in donations as of Thursday.
On August 7, Yanez Jr and French pulled over a vehicle for expired plates at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue when a passenger in the car opened fire, killing the female officers and critically injuring her partner.
The shooting suspect, 21-year-old Monty Morgan, was shot in the abdomen by a third officer. He has been arrested and is charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer and attempted murder.
Shooting suspect Monty Morgan, 21 9left), was charged with first-degree murder of a peace officer and attempted murder. His brother Eric Morgan (right) faces gun and obstruction of justice charges
His brother, 22-year-old Eric Morgan, who prosecutors say was driving the vehicle, was also arrested. He faces gun charges and an obstruction of justice charge. Both were being held in Cook County Jail without bail.
A third man accused of acting as a straw purchaser to buy the gun used in the shooting faces federal gun charges.
French’s death was the first fatal shooting of a Chicago officer in the line of duty since 2018 and the first female officer fatally shot on the job in 33 years.